President Trump returned to the White House yesterday just after 6:30 P.M. EST, hours after the medical team treating him cautioned that he’s “not out of the woods yet.” Despite a growing number of White House staffers and members of Congress testing positive for COVID-19, the White House has decided not to trace the contacts of guests and staff members at the Rose Garden celebration for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, where at least eight people, including the President, may have become infected.
The Census Bureau has “taken all necessary steps, including contract extensions” to make sure that households can self-respond to the Census online, over the phone, and through mail “until October 31,” Director Steven Dillingham said in a sworn statement.
The Cherokee Nation will spend $25 million in CARES Act Funds to construct eight new facilities and remodel four others in response to COVID-19. Tribal leaders broke ground last month on the Respond, Recover and Rebuild projects that range from PPE manufacturing and space for social distancing, to food outreach sites and a new employee health care facility.
Members of the Havasupai Tribe in Arizona have reached an agreement with the federal government to partly resolve a lawsuit after a federal court had already determined that the Bureau of Indian Education violated its duty to ensure access to special education, therapists and mental health services, including for trauma and childhood adversity.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the state of Oklahoma’s request to administer environmental regulatory programs in Indian Country. The decision applies to more than two dozen federal environmental programs overseen by Oklahoma agencies, but does not apply to lands held in trust for tribes or those that qualify as Indian allotments.
For the second consecutive year, Indigenous-owned casinos hold five of the top 10 casinos outside of Las Vegas on USA Today’s 10Best ranking. The casinos ranked in the top 10 include the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, the Pechanga Resort Casino in California, the Seminole Hard Rock & Casino Tampa in Florida, the Casino Del Sol in Arizona, and Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, which topped the list.
In Michigan, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss declared the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples Day. The mayor made the designation to recognize, celebrate, and honor the values that Anishinaabe (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi) People of the Three Fires brought to the city, including technology, thought, and Indigenous culture. The day also commends the current contributions made by Native people by acknowledging ancestral lands.
Keep reading for a full news update.
AG William Barr’s Visit To Cherokee Nation Raises COVID-19 Concerns
Native News Online, Levi Rickert, October 5
U.S. Attorney William Barr visited the capital of the Cherokee Nation only five days after sitting in the White House’s Rose Garden where some eight attendees have been diagnosed with the deadly Covid-19. The Cherokee Nation claims it has engaged its public health contact tracing team who has advised there seems to have been a minimal risk of exposure during US Attorney General Barr’s visit.
Tourist Sites On Navajo Nation To Remain Closed Through 2020
AP News, October 5
Tourist sites on the Navajo Nation, including the Four Corners Monument, will be closed through at least the rest of the year. The Navajo Parks and Recreation Department cited a rise in coronavirus cases on the reservation and a tribal public health order in making the announcement. It said it will reassess in January.
[Opinion] The Fight Continues Against Unequal Access to Vote-By-Mail Continues
Native News Online, O.J. Seamans, Sr., October 5
Four Directions will continue to fight alongside the brave members of the Navajo Nation who are calling Arizona Secretary of State Hobbs to account for the unequal access to Vote-By-Mail her office is defending.
Cherokee Nation Spends $25m In CARES Act Funds To Building Projects
Native News Online, Chez Oxendine, October 5
The Cherokee Nation will be building eight new facilities and remodeling four others in response to Covid-19, the tribe announced in early September. “Cherokee Nation leaders broke ground [Sept. 8] on $25 million worth of Respond, Recover and Rebuild projects that range from PPE manufacturing and space for social distancing, to food outreach sites and a new employee health care facility,” reads a press release.
Arizona Tribe Members Settle Education Claims In Lawsuit
AP News, Felicia Fonseca, October 4
The Havasupai tribe has reached an agreement with the federal government to partly resolve a lawsuit that sought widespread reform in the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. A federal court determined that the bureau violated its duty to ensure access to special education, therapists, and mental health services, including for trauma and childhood adversity.
Republican Supreme Court Rush Threatens Native Health Care
Indianz.com, Tom Udall, October 5
U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued a statement on the Senate Republican rush to confirm a Supreme Court justice. “The Republican rush to force through a far-right Supreme Court nominee … represents a clear and present threat to health care access in Native communities across Indian Country.”
Indigenous Casinos Grab Five Spots On Top 10 List Of Resorts Outside Las Vegas
Casino.org, Devin O’Connor, October 5
For the second consecutive year, Indigenous tribes own and operate five of the top 10 casinos not in Las Vegas, as ranked by USA TODAY’s 10Best. For 2020, it was agreed that no casino outside Las Vegas is better than Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, which is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
EPA Gives Oklahoma Environmental Oversight On Indian Lands
Indian Country Today, Kolby Kickingwoman, October 5
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the state of Oklahoma’s request to administer environmental regulatory programs in Indian Country. It gives the state approval for a hazardous waste program, experimental use permits, Clean Air Act programs and more. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. called the announcement disappointing.
University of Arizona And Partners Work To Increase Colorectal Cancer Screenings Among American Indians
Cronkite News, Endia Fontanez, October 5
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among Native Americans but have the lowest colorectal screening rates in the United States. This has prompted calls for increased screenings to improve detection and treatment of colorectal disease. The University of Arizona Cancer Center is working to accelerate cancer research and prevention in Native communities.
Grand Rapids Recognizes Indigenous Peoples Day
Native News Online, Monica Whitepigeon, October 5
Last week, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss declared the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples Day. The mayor made the designation to recognize, celebrate, and honor the values that Anishinaabek (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi) People of the Three Fires brought to the city, including (but not limited to) technology, thought, and Indigenous culture.
Minot City Council To Consider Indigenous People’s Day Proclamation
KYFR, Sasha Strong, October 5
Monday night the Minot City Council will consider a proclamation making the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day. The Minot State University Native American Cultural Awareness Club requested the proclamation. The group has been working since last year to have the day recognized.
A Native American Community in Baltimore Reclaims Its History
Smithsonian.org, Isabel Spiegel, October 5
Baltimore was once home to a sizeable population of American Indians, the Lumbee tribe, who lived in the neighborhoods of Upper Fells Point and Washington Hill. Now, Ashley Minner, Lumbee, is creating an archive devoted to her community, including a more accurate map of how the neighborhood used to be, so that their contributions to the city’s cultural legacy will be rendered visible to history.
Tribe’s ‘Relentlessness’ Praised In Fish Recovery Effort
AP News, Scott Sonner, October 5
U.S. and tribal officials are celebrating completion of a $34 million fish bypass system at a Nevada dam that will allow a threatened trout species to return to some of its native spawning grounds for the first time in more than a century.
Rapid City Mayor Refers To Natives As “Those People”
Indianz.com, Tim Giago, October 5
Rapid City, South Dakota Mayor Steve Allender referred to the homeless Native Americans living in “his” city as “those people.” He suggested that he would like to see all of them return to their home reservations and he would even find the transportation to send them there if that was necessary.
Plan in place to improve and enhance Cherokee Heritage Center
Indianz.com, Chuck Hoskin, October 5
Passed unanimously by the Council of the Cherokee Nation, the Cherokee Heritage Center Act of 2020 transfers ownership of the site’s 44 acres, buildings, equipment, assets, collections and historical documents from the nonprofit Cherokee National Historical Society to the Cherokee Nation.